Liberal MP trying again to change lyrics to 'O Canada' to make it more gender neutral

Liberal MP trying again to change lyrics to 'O Canada' to make it more gender neutral
Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
First posted: Monday, January 25, 2016 07:21 AM EST | Updated: Monday, January 25, 2016 03:39 PM EST
OTTAWA -- Liberal MP Mauril Belanger is losing his own singing voice but that's not stopping him from trying -- for a second time -- to change the English lyrics to O Canada to make the national anthem more gender neutral.
The veteran Ottawa MP, whose vocal cords have been weakened by Lou Gehrig's disease, is determined to end the song's inference that patriotism is something felt exclusively by men.
Hence, soon after Parliament resumes work today, he intends to table a private member's bill that would alter two words, changing the second line of the anthem from true patriot love "in all thy sons command" to "in all of us command."
Belanger introduced an identical bill in the last session of Parliament; it was defeated at second reading last April by a close vote of 144-127.
At the time, MPs from all the opposition parties supported the change but almost all Conservative MPs voted against it.
With the Liberals now in the majority, Belanger should have little trouble finally ensuring that women feel equally included in the national anthem.
Passage of the bill would be a fitting legacy for Belanger, who was diagnosed just a month after the Oct. 19 federal election with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It is an incurable, progressive, neurodegenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, paralysis and, eventually, respiratory failure.
"I remain committed to proposing this legislative initiative," Belanger said in a recent posting on his Facebook page.
"I intend to table my bill when the House of Commons resumes in late January 2016 and can expect to initiate the debate on the bill around April."
Belanger said the objective of the bill is to "pay tribute to all the women who have worked and fought to build and shape the Canada that we know today ... to at long last honour their sacrifices and contributions."
O Canada was originally composed by Calixa Lavallee in 1880, with French lyrics by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier.
It took about 20 years for the song to surface in English Canada, where various versions of the lyrics were tried out.
Belanger has noted that his proposed change would actually return the lyrics closer to one of the versions most widely used in the early 1900s: "True patriot love thou dost in us command." That line was changed to "in all thy sons command" at the time of the First World War, presumably to honour men in the armed forces, according to The Canadian Encyclopedia.
The last time the English lyrics were changed was in 1980, when O Canada was officially adopted as the national anthem. At that time, repetitive phrases were replaced with "From far and wide, O Canada" and "God keep our land, glorious and free."
Since then, there have been at least 10 attempts to change the second line to include women -- all of which have failed.
Stephen Harper's Conservative government broached the idea in a 2010 throne speech, but abandoned it just two days later amid an angry backlash among core Tory party supporters.
In a bid to persuade Conservatives that Canadians are not averse to modernizing the anthem, Belanger last spring commissioned his own poll which suggested almost 60 per cent favour his proposed wording. All but five Conservative MPs voted against his bill anyway.
Liberal MP trying again to change lyrics to 'O Canada' to make it more gender ne

On guard for keeping 'thy sons' in anthem

By Mike Strobel , Toronto Sun
First posted: Monday, January 25, 2016 04:37 PM EST | Updated: Monday, January 25, 2016 04:46 PM EST
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.”

Audre Lorde said that.

She wasn’t just blowing smoke. She knew of what she spoke. Audre Lorde was a black lesbian legally blind mom. If that’s not exotic enough for you, she was also a radical feminist writer. And a smart cookie.

Ahh, yes, differences. Remember those? They were celebrated in life and literature, such as the late 1970s’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

“In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.”

I don’t know what’s happening on Alpha Centauri these days, but down here on Earth, they’re trying to knock the gender out of us.

On the weekend, the Oxford dictionary found itself in a Twitter war of words with rabid feminists, who discovered “a rabid feminist” was an example sentence for the definition of “rabid” — among other annotational atrocities.

Now, O Canada has been drawn into the Gender War, again. This time, our anthem might lose.

Liberal MP Mauril Belanger vows to reintroduce his private member’s bill changing the pivotal line about true patriot love from “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.”

Belanger tried the same stunt last April, but lost on second reading 144-127, the latest of some 10 failed attempts to make our anthem gender neutral.

Now, the Liberals are in charge and Ottawa is awash in “sunny ways,” so I fear for “thy sons command.” Belanger says he intends to table his bill shortly and to begin debate on it in April.

On one hand, we wish Belanger luck, especially in his struggles with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Nor do I doubt his desire to “pay tribute to all the women who have worked and fought to build and shape the Canada that we know today ... to at long last honour their sacrifices and contributions.”

But it is also true that “thy sons” was written to honour the 66,655 Canadians killed and 172,950 wounded in the First World War, virtually all of them men.

No amount of rewriting will change that history, though not for wont of trying, clearly.

The Gender Brigade is a stubborn bunch, bound and determined to turn “vive la difference” into blasphemy, to purify the world, to make it generic, to render it gender neutral. Neutered, is more like it.

Once they whup Oxford and O Canada into shape, which they surely will, what’s next?

The Academy Awards think they’re in trouble over race issues — wait until the Gender Brigade opens fire on that actor/actress divide. Is Jennifer Lawrence not capable of challenging Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor head-to-head? Must she and Meryl and Halle be coddled in their own category?

The most fervent gender blenders have even invented pronouns to kick the “she” and “he” out of us. “Hir,” for instance can be used for him/her or his/her. Same for s/he.

Man, oh, man, where will this rush to a generic world end? There is so much evil bias for the Gender Brigade to root out.

I hope they don’t check into “patriot” as in “true patriot love.”

The word’s root is the Latin “pater,” meaning “father” and its meaning relates to loyalty to a patriarch, the male ruler of a family or tribe.”

How sexist can you get?


Strobel’s column usually runs Monday to Thursday. Hear him at 94.9 The Rock FM Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
On guard for keeping 'thy sons' in anthem | Strobel | Canada | News | Toronto Su
I refuse to "upgrade", I still use the one i learned in school, with God save the Queen, in '56.
They should just replace it with No Sugar Tonight from The Guess Who.

At least we would then have an anthem to be proud about.
+1 / -1
#4  Top Rated Post
They should make the minimum possible change. The appropriate gender-neutral replacement for "sons" is "brats."

Quote: Originally Posted by relic View Post

I refuse to "upgrade", I still use the one i learned in school, with God save the Queen, in '56.

God shave our gracious Queen
'Til her chin's nice and clean
God shave the queen
Send her laborious
Oscar Pistorius
Something something something something else
God shave the Queen

Similar Threads

Should Canada Become a Neutral Country?
by Northboy | Apr 14th, 2018
Alberta Canada ALRB is not neutral!!!!
by le_franco2006 | Jan 11th, 2006